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In Scientology, the tone scale or emotional tone scale is a characterization of human behavior. It is based on the idea that some people appear to be more lively and alive than other people. Author L. Ron Hubbard spelled the idea out saying, "just draw a horizontal line on the page. Put the people who are less alive on the bottom and the people who are more alive on the top."

In his 1951 book Science of Survival, Hubbard expanded the idea into many increments. The idea states that a "tone" has many manifestations including appearance, chronic emotion, the way the person handles other people, how well the person can pass on a communication given to them, and other characteristics.



The tone scale is as follows:[1]

 40.0   Serenity of beingness
 30.0   Postulates
 22.0   Games
 20.0   Action
  8.0   Exhilaration
  6.0   Aesthetic
  4.0   Enthusiasm
  3.5   Cheerfulness
  3.3   Strong interest
  3.0   Conservatism
  2.9   Mild interest
  2.8   Contented
  2.6   Disinterested
  2.5   Boredom
  2.4   Monotony
  2.0   Antagonism
  1.9   Hostility
  1.8   Pain
  1.5   Anger
  1.4   Hate
  1.3   Resentment
  1.2   No sympathy
  1.15  Unexpressed resentment
  1.1   Covert hostility
  1.02  Anxiety
  1.0   Fear
  0.98  Despair
  0.96  Terror
  0.94  Numb
  0.9   Sympathy
  0.8   Propitiation
  0.5   Grief
  0.375 Making amends
  0.3   Undeserving
  0.2   Self-abasement
  0.1   Victim
  0.07  Hopeless
  0.05  Apathy
  0.03  Useless
  0.01  Dying
  0.0   Body death
- 0.01  Pity
- 0.02  Shame
- 0.07  Accountable
- 1.0   Blame
- 1.3   Regret
- 1.5   Controlling bodies
- 2.2   Protecting bodies
- 3.0   Owning bodies
- 3.5   Approval from bodies
- 4.0   Needing bodies
- 5.0   Worshipping bodies
- 6.0   Sacrifice
- 8.0   Hiding
-10.0   Being objects
-20.0   Being nothing
-30.0   Can't hide
-40.0   Total failure

Details of the scale

Hubbard devised the "Tone Scale" in 1951 as a tool for auditors in Scientology. Scientologists believe it intends to classify people in a range or scale according to how spiritually alive and how dead a person is, both personally and in their relationships to others. It prescribes auditing procedures to use with a person depending where they are on the scale.

Hubbard expanded on the idea and created 80 increments which he numbered from -40 (total failure) to +40 (serenity of beingness). Hubbard's full scale appears above. According to Scientologists a person chronically focused on death and destruction is at the low end of the tone scale, while a person focused on creativity is at the high end of the scale.

A noteworthy mechanism of the scale involves a person as they approach and react to pain. As a person approaches pain, they allegedly become more antagonistic and less cheerful. It is purported that after receiving pain, they will be angry about it, and then, if the pain persists, can become more overwhelmed by it, progressing down through fear, grief, apathy, into failure, etc. Auditing allegedly reverses this path. Scientologists aim to be at the higher levels of the tone scale and believe that Scientology auditing will move them to a higher average level of the tone scale.

While a person can rationally be any place on the tone scale due to circumstances, Scientologists argue that one should not, under normal circumstances, be stuck any particular place on the scale. Also, in Scientology one can be at various places on the tone scale in different areas of life, such as being chronically 'high on' oneself and chronically 'down on' people or one's partner. Such discrepancy is allegedly an indication of a problem.

The ultimate goal of Scientology is claimed to be "a free being". By Scientology's definition, a free being can be and does not have to be any place on the scale. A free being does not have to avoid certain areas of the scale, although one could as a matter of choice or taste.

Allegedly, the lower a person is on the scale, the more complex and solid their problems are and the more effort it takes to make even a little positive and real long-term gain for that person. Thus, spotting a person as low on the scale allows one to make a decision regarding how careful or involved one should become in dealing with that person.


In addition to the original Tone Scale and the later, expanded one, there is also an "Emotional Tone Scale" and a "Reality Spotting by E-Meter" scale that lists expected E-Meter reactions when encountering each portion of the Tone Scale. These, and other related scales and charts, are found in Hubbard's book Scientology 0-8: The Book of Basics.[citation needed]


Beside emotions, Hubbard gives in Science of Survival for each level other characteristics such as health state, sexual activities, dealing with truth, activity level, and also worth to society. These descriptions are very detailed, e.g. persons at tone level 1.5 (chronic anger) are said to be prone to arthritis, people at tone level 1.1 (covert hostility) are said to be inclined to sexual perversity and homosexuality. People stuck at 2.0 (chronic antagonism) or lower on the tone scale have, according to Hubbard, a negative value for society and are described as sociopaths; furthermore, these people are said to be dangerous as the emotions or moods in the negative range theoretically impair the person's interactions with the world around them. Hubbard tells clearly how they should be dealt with in his opinion: "…any person from 2.0 down on the tone scale should not have, in any thinking society, any civil rights of any kind, because by abusing those rights they bring into being arduous and strenuous laws which are oppressive to those who need no such restraints"[citation needed] and "There are only two answers for the handling of people from 2.0 down on the tone scale, neither of which has anything to do with reasoning with them or listening to their justification of their acts. The first is to raise them on the Tone Scale by unenturbulating some of their theta by any one of the three valid processes. The other is to dispose of them quietly and without sorrow. Adders are safe bedmates compared to people on the lower bands of the tone scale."[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Illustrated Tone Scale in Full". Church of Scientology International. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 

Further reading

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